20 Questions: Planningtorock

Photo: Goodyn Green

She's collaborated with the Knife, has her new album out on DFA, and has some choice words for Angela Merkel. Welcome to the wonderful, otherworldly land known as Planningtorock ...

To be rather blunt about it, Janine Rostron never goes about things the easy way.

After all, when your big star-making turn just so happens to be helping out with a Knife-penned opera about Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution, you know you're not exactly working with the most mainstream of concepts. Yet Rostron has been at this for some time, having done both music and video work in both England and Berlin, her 2006 album Have It All showcasing her unique style. Yet following her collaboration with the Knife, Rostron--who works under her gender-bending moniker Planningtorock -- got signed to the uber-hip DFA Records, and suddenly her new album, the rather-excellent slice of eclectic dance-rock known as W, was subject to a wonderful round of buzz and great reviews from across the board.

Prior to launching what is sure to be another visually-stunning tour, Rostron sat down to answer PopMatters' famed 20 Questions, revealing a "hidden non-talent", a relation to the hero from Ponyo, and--of course--her words for Angela Merkel . . .


1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?


2. The fictional character most like you?


3. The greatest album, ever?

I don't think there's a greatest album ever, but I do keep going back too Björk's Homogenic album which I think is a great piece of work.

4. Star Trek or Star Wars?


5. Your ideal brain food?

I like watching a lot of films and documentaries. I think people are really inspirational, especially self invented characters. There's a bunch of books that I read and re-read--I hate novels--but I like reading philosophy and history. Conversations with my mother are always very inspiring; she´s one of the most unconventional smart people I know.

6. You're proud of this accomplishment, but why?

Surviving this long--because I'm pretty uncompromising.

7. You want to be remembered for . . . ?

I´ll let my music determine how I'm remembered.

8. Of those who've come before, the most inspirational are?

Jennifer Herema (RTX/Royal Trux), Danielle Dax, Etta James, Peaches, PJ Harvey, Cocteau Twins (Elizabeth Fraser), Matt Johnson (The The), Durutti Column, Nina Simone, Missy Elliot, Björk, P.I.L, Liz Phair, Snake Finger.

9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?


10. Your hidden talents . . . ?

All my talents are out. Hidden non-talent: can't cook.

11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?

All the advise my mother has ever given me I've used; she's the smartest person I know.

12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?

Best thing I bought was my Tascam four-track recorder. It was the first piece of gear I bought--I remember reading that Bruce Springsteen made the initial recordings for Nebraska on a Tascam.

13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or . . . ?


14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?

The writer Judith Butler.

15. Time travel: where, when, and why?

Back to when I was 18 in Bolton, North England, so I could spend time with my father again--he passed away when I was just 20.

16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation, or Prozac?

[I] don't really get stressed--maybe over-worked--and then I like to take time out with my friends.

17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or . . . ?

Loved ones.

18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?

Berlin, X-Berg.

19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?

Angela Merkel, you're a smart and strategic politician--such a shame you're a conservative!

20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?

I'm rehearsing my new live show ready for the W tour.





A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.


Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.


PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.


'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.


Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.


Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.


Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.


The Flaming Lips Reimagine Tom Petty's Life in Oklahoma on 'American Head'

The Flaming Lips' American Head is a trip, a journey to the past that one doesn't want to return to but never wants to forget.


Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.


Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.


Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" Is an Ode for Unity in Troubling Times (premiere)

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.


'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.


Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.


Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.


Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.


The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.